On November 29, 2021, the United States Embassy in Tirana, Albania, posted on its official Facebook page a message celebrating the so-called Day of Liberation of Albania (November 29, 1944). The post received many angry comments from Albanians in Albania and Albanian-Americans. A highly respected former Voice of America journalist Ilir Ikonomi wrote: “The U. S. officials have never celebrated the so-called Liberation Day in Albania. IMHO this is a gross diplomatic mistake on your part and those who suffered from the communist oppression in Albania are due an apology ASAP.” A retired former VOA Albanian Service chief and former VOA Eurasia Division Director Frank Shkreli wrote in an article for an Albanian news website: “I am addressing Mrs. Kim [U.S. Ambassador to Albania, career diplomat Yuri Kim] because as of today, I, as an American citizen and taxpayer of Albanian origin, do not consider you as my ambassador to the homeland of my ancestors.” The U.S. Embassy in Tirana Facebook page is full of similar angry comments from Albanians, but as of December 2, the Voice of America Albanian Service news website is not reporting on the controversy. In the past, the U.S. State Department never issued official statements on the so-called “Liberation Day” (the U.S. Embassy in Tirana may have had low-level events to mark it), but chose instead the Day of Independence (November 28, 1912) to send routine greetings to the people of Albania. Most Albanians consider the so-called “Day of Liberation” the beginning of the communist dictatorship and brutal repressions. The U.S. Embassy Facebook post comes at a time when there have been unprecedented moves by former Albanian Communists, including some socialist members of the Albanian Parliament and some historians, to rehabilitate Albania’s infamous Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha.
Voice of America propaganda for Albania from a noted American playwright who trusted Stalin and Tito
by Ted Lipien
Few if any Albanians or Albanian-Americans know that a famous American playwright, who won four Pulitzer Prizes and was a valued speechwriter for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wrote in 1943 a secret seven-page U.S. government document about Albania. Its author, Robert E. Sherwood, was also one of the founders and the first top official in charge of program policy for the Voice of America (VOA), the taxpayer-funded American radio station for overseas audiences established in 1942 during World War II by the Roosevelt Administration with the main purpose of helping to speed up the defeat of Axis powers and countering Nazi and Japanese propaganda. The memorandum, titled “O.W.I. BASIC DIRECTIVE — ALBANIA,” issued May 9, 1943, gave VOA broadcasters instructions on how to cover news, what to report and what not to report in radio programs to Albania.
The document, which showed the Roosevelt Administration’s tilt toward supporting Soviet aims and Communists in the region, was stamped “CONFIDENTIAL.” It was declassified and made available to scholars at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland in a Washington, D.C. suburb, but like many such government documents about the Voice of America, it has not been posted online or analyzed. I found it while doing research on Voice of America broadcasts during World War II and looking for documents related to Poland. The country of my birth was another one lost to communism as a result of the war. An important part of President Roosevelt’s WWII betrayal of countries in East-Central Europe and in the Balkans was the success of Soviet propaganda in getting the leaders of the United States and Great Britain to agree, without any effective opposition, to most of Soviet Russia’s demands presented to them by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin for the post-war territorial and political arrangements. Albania was among the countries, with the total population of about 80 million, which lost their freedom. President Roosevelt’s policy toward Russia, and much of the U.S. government propaganda supporting it, were designed in secrecy by a small group of officials who came under the influence of Soviet propaganda and disinformation. A closer review of the declassified Albania document may offer some lessons on how to avoid similar mistakes in dealing with current propaganda and influence operations by such countries as Russia, China, or Iran and how to avoid journalistic and diplomatic mistakes.
The 1943 memorandum, expertly written by Robert E. Sherwood, who was not a policymaker but was close to Roosevelt to know what the president wanted, starts out under the heading “Basic Considerations” with a summary of Albania’s history as an independent state.”
The state of Albania was created in 1920 largely as a result of American initiative and insistence. The Albanians who had been under Turkish domination for centuries, launched their first large scale movement for independence in 1912. During the First World War, Albania was occupied by the Central Powers and after the war by the Italians. On January 19, 1920, a group of Albanians declared their country free and a few months later drove all Italians from Albanian soil. Soon after that Albania was recognized by the Allied Powers. 1
The document also noted religious divisions in the country: “about 5/8 Moslems, 1/4 Orthodox Christians, 1/8 Roman Catholics.” Robert E. Sherwood asserted without citing his sources that “The Roman Catholics tend to have sympathy for the Italians; the Orthodox for the Greeks.”
His memorandum also pointed to the political turmoil in independent Albania of the interwar period.
5. The Albanians have always been factional and have usually placed party, clique and personal interests above national interests, thus causing much turmoil and violence throughout their country. Soon after free Albania was formed, it was forcibly converted from a Republic to a kingdom by an Albanian tribal leader, Ahmed Zogu, who had himself proclaimed King September 1, 1928. Under King Zog Albania reached a higher state of development than ever before in its history, though it still remained the most backward state in Europe.
7. Mussolini’s troops treacherously invaded Albania on Good Friday, April 7, 1939. Neither King Zog nor his people offered much resistance. The Italians made Albania a part of the Italian Empire.
8. At present the Albanians are boldly resisting the Italians in many places. A large part of the nation is bitterly opposed to the Axis and heartily sympathizes with the United Nations, especially with America.
Robert E. Sherwood’s directive continued with “Basic Aims” of U.S. government propaganda policy, followed by specific instructions on what should be stressed and what should be avoided or censored in Voice of America broadcasts and other Office of War Information materials pertaining to Albania.
B Basic Aims
1. To encourage a spirit of independence among the Albanians.
2. To stimulate opposition to Italian domination and to Fascism.
7. To revive and strengthen the bonds that have existed for many years between Albania and America.
Sherwood’s memorandum had an instruction on how to handle religious issues.
Since the majority of Albanians are Moslem, items about Christianity should not be overstressed, though it may be reported, since Albanians are tolerant in matters of religion.
A separate item dealt with how to report on King Zog who fled initially to Greece when Italy occupied Albania in 1939. When Italy had surrendered to the Allies in 1943, German forces occupied Albania. During the war, the nationalists, the royalists, and the communists operated separate resistance groups in opposition to the Italian and German occupation forces. Sherwood’s directive made it sufficiently clear that VOA broadcasts should not support King Zog.
Sherwood could not say outright, even in a secret memorandum, that OWI and VOA propaganda should support Albanian Communists. This would be dangerous due to strong opposition to communism in Congress and among Americans in general, but by 1943 the Roosevelt Administration’s foreign and propaganda policy had become already closely aligned with Soviet policy and propaganda aims in East-Central Europe and in the Balkans.
L. King Zog
Albanians inside and outside Albania are sharply divided on their attitude toward King Zog. For this reason:
A. News about King Zog should be reported without comment for or against him.
B. The names of well known royal partisans should be ignored.
Fighting Albanian leaders who had or have ties with King Zog should not be associated with the royal following.
In addition to basic directives for creating propaganda materials and broadcasts targeting various countries during World War II, such as the one dated May 9, 1943, for Albania, the United States Office of War Information (OWI) also issued more detailed “Weekly Propaganda Directives.” They were also marked “Confidential” and some copies had numbers or letters, presumably to guard against distribution to unauthorized individuals. Robert E. Sherwood signed the Albania Directive and also wrote many of the weekly WWII office of War Information propaganda directives.
Albania was one of several smaller European countries which got Sherwood’s attention as the official in charge of the Overseas Division of the Office of War Information, including the Voice of America. At about the same time he wrote the Albania Directive, he was also busy in protecting Stalin from accusations of being a mass murderer in connection with the new discovery of the Katyń Forest Massacre of thousands of Polish military officers. To deflect the blame for the 1940 mass murder of Polish war prisoners from being correctly attached to Stalin, Sherwood encouraged Voice of America broadcasters to repeat some of the Soviet propaganda lies against the Polish Government-in-Exile based in London and evidently believed that the Soviet government and its propagandists were both truthful and right in their attacks on Poland’s democratic leaders. He may have been sincerely convinced that Stalin could not have committed such a heinous crime and that the Polish Government-in-Exile was at fault in demanding a Red Cross investigation of who was responsible for the Polish officers’ murder.
Sherwood also knew that Poland was an ally of the United States and had a significant number of troops fighting in the anti-Nazi alliance. But the Polish armed forces were not nearly as important militarily to the United States and Great Britain as Russia was at the time. 2 While making sure that Russia would not be defeated or sign a separate peace treaty with Hitler was of critical importance to the United States, electoral support of the Polish-American voters was also crucial for President Roosevelt. He lied to Polish-American leaders about his plans for Poland’s future in negotiating with Stalin and managed to get their endorsement before the 1944 U.S. presidential elections, which he won.
U.S. Congress on Tito During World War II
Thanks to several lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. Congress became aware during World War II of Voice of America’s communist propaganda in overseas broadcasts. Most members of Congress opposed such U.S. government-produced support for communist groups at American taxpayers’ expense, while a few progressive Democrats uncritically praised Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito, most likely as a result of successful disinformation from various communist sources. Congressional critics also exposed during the war pro-Soviet propaganda in VOA broadcasts to Poland and to other countries, both in Eastern and Western Europe. 3
Such public exposures eventually led to the almost complete defunding by Congress of the domestic propaganda activities by the executive branch, at that time President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, but were not enough to protect the Voice of America overseas broadcasts from Soviet influence, which remained strong until the end of the war and persisted to some degree until the early 1950s. Even while the United States engaged in a global war against Nazi Germany and Japan, members of Congress of both parties managed to reduce drastically in 1943 the domestic propaganda budget of the Voice of America’s parent federal agency, the Office of War Information, when they realized that not only foreign audiences but also Americans were being exposed to Soviet and other foreign propaganda, as well as domestic partisan propaganda in favor of President Roosevelt and his administration. 4
At the same time, U.S. lawmakers had only limited success in preventing pro-Soviet and pro-communist messages from being broadcast overseas by VOA journalists, although congressional critics also cut some funding for U.S. foreign radio broadcasts while America was still at war with Germany and Japan.
Foreign propaganda in Voice of America broadcasts was not completely unnoticed during the war. Several members of the U.S. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, were warning against pro-Tito and pro-communist influence in early VOA shortwave radio programs to Yugoslavia and to other countries. A few members of Congress, however, most notably Rep. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, expressed at the time their strong support for Tito, and some made speeches presenting Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as a supporter of democracy.
Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-NY) was one of the most outspoken defenders of Soviet Russia, Stalin, and OWI’s Voice of America foreign broadcasting. Some other lawmakers were also easily fooled by Soviet disinformation and OWI’s own misleading public relations messages, but Celler and other liberal members of Congress of both parties were at the same time strong supporters of Jewish and other wartime refugees, as well as outspoken advocates of civil rights for black Americans. Some of them later renounced their excessive praise of Stalin.
Henry “Scoop” Jackson was elected in 1952 to the U.S. Senate and may have regretted later his enthusiastic endorsement of Tito, which he had made in a June 23, 1944 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives. His remarks sounded as if they were written by Tito’s communist agents in the United States. Senator Jackson eventually became one of the strongest anti-communist and anti-Soviet Democrats in the U.S. Congress. He was a co-sponsor of the Jackson–Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 which linked granting of U.S. trade privileges to communist-ruled countries with guarantees of respect for basic human rights, including freedom of emigration. One of the beneficiaries of the Jackson-Vanik amendment were Soviet Jews, the so-called Refuseniks, who were denied by their totalitarian government the right to emigrate. Unlike Soviet leaders and to greater or lesser extent other communist regimes, after establishing his regime Tito generally did not try to restrict the right of Yugoslavs to travel to the West and to work or settle in Western countries. However, his communist Partisans and later regime officials under his control were directly or indirectly responsible for the death after the war of many people, as were the Nazis, Chetniks, and Croatian Ustashi during the war. 5
When in March 2020, the Voice of America marked the 77th anniversary of the launch of its Serbian broadcasts, practically no one remembered that VOA’s pro-Soviet wartime propaganda was designed to help Tito’s Communists to defeat not only the Nazis but also to destroy his democratic opponents who were not Fascists and to solidify communist control over Yugoslavia, just as pro-Soviet Voice of America officials and broadcasters were helping Stalin install communist governments in East Central Europe, including Poland and Czechoslovakia. This early VOA’s love affair with communism, Soviet Russia, Stalin, and Tito has been subsequently hidden by U.S. government executives and agency supporters from historical accounts for several decades because it might have undermined VOA’s credibility during the Cold War and did not reflect well on the progressive part of the American political elite.
There was a strong military rationale for American support for some communist leaders, communist parties and for Soviet Russia while the war with Germany and Japan continued. During World War II, Josip Broz Tito and Yugoslav communists were seen as close allies of the Soviet Union and as America’s allies against Nazi Germany. Stalin eventually turned against Tito after the war when he discovered that he could not control him the same way he was able to dominate communist parties and their regimes in East-Central Europe. Tito broke with Stalin in 1948 and later liberalized to some degree the communist system in Yugoslavia. For that reason, he was viewed by various U.S. administrations largely as a positive player in the East-West Cold War conflict. A 1981 Voice of America document described Yugoslavia as “an important Third World leader and the major country not in the Warsaw Pact.” The VOA document further stated in 1981 that “Special nationality sensitivities create a potential for serious problems that can affect not only the existence of Yugoslavia, but stability of the entire region.” 6
Still, the imposition of Tito’s communist rule in Yugoslavia, initially supported by VOA, claimed countless innocent victims and delayed by decades securing of political liberties, national sovereignty of various ethnic groups, economic progress and integration with the rest of Europe. Because of Yugoslavia’s and Tito’s special status, Radio Free Europe never launched programs in Serbian, Croatian, or Slovene. In 1981, VOA broadcast one hour and fifteen minutes daily in Serbo-Croatian and half an hour daily in Slovene. VOA Serbo-Croatian broadcasts started in March 1943. VOA Slovene broadcasts were on the air from 1944 until the end of World War II, and were resumed in 1949.
Just as the wartime Voice of America supported Tito, VOA’s fellow traveler officials and journalists, also contributed in a minor way with their pro-Soviet propaganda to the establishment of communist regimes in countries of East-Central Europe which murdered and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people and kept millions behind the Iron Curtain as virtual prisoners for several decades. In a complete change of purpose and direction during the Cold War, the Voice of America later helped to usher the fall of communism in East Central Europe and in the former Soviet Union but its directors and journalists have never officially acknowledged VOA’s early role in support of Soviet communism and most of them know nothing about this history. While the establishment of Soviet-dominated communist regimes in East-Central Europe was almost inevitable with or without support from the pro-Soviet Voice of America because of the presence of the Red Army on the ground, VOA may have provided some of the critical propaganda help Tito needed to defeat his political opponents. While whether such propaganda help was of critical importance cannot be easily determined, there is substantial evidence that German, Czechoslovak, Polish, Yugoslav and other foreign language services of the Voice of America during the war had communists working as managers, journalists, and broadcasters. Julius Epstein 7, a Jewish refugee journalist from Austria who himself had a brief infatuation with communism during his student days in Germany, wrote after the war that when in 1942
[he] “entered the services of what was then the ‘Coordinator of Information’ which became after a few months the O.W.I., I was immediately struck by the fact that the German desk was almost completely seized by extreme left-wingers who indulged in a purely and exaggerated pro-Stalinist propaganda.”
Stalin was then our “gallant ally,” Epstein, who became a fierce critic of the Voice of America, explained in his 1951 article calling for reforms to improve countering of Soviet propaganda and disinformation. 8
Epstein told congressional investigators in 1952:
One of the greatest OWI scandals broke when Frederick Woltman published his article “AFL, CIO Hit OWI Radio As Communist.” Woltman article appeared in the New York World Telegram of October 4, 1943. It showed that the AFL as well as the CIO, the two great American Labor Organizations, which nobody but the Communists ever accused of being reactionary, withdrew their cooperations with the OWI labor desk because of the latter’s outspoken Communist attitude. Woltman, in an excellent expose, revealed that the CIO as well as the AFL had already in December, 1952, [sic – should be 1942] jointly protested to Elmer Davis that the OWI’s New York Overseas Branch [Voice of America] had been regularly broadcasting communist propaganda in its daily shortwave radio programs. 9
According to Julius Epstein, even communists who were not on the OWI payroll managed to attend agency planning meetings and spied on legitimate American journalists, including famous radio broadcaster Dorothy Thompson who in 1934 was expelled from Nazi Germany and in 1939 was recognized by Time magazine as being equal in influence to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Mr. Mitchell. Did you attend those meetings?
Mr. Epstein. Very seldom. I attended one or two and I met Mr. Budzislawsky.
Mr. Mitchell. Who is he?
Mr. Epstein. He was editor in chief in Europe of the one hundred percent [sic – presumably communist] periodical called Die Neue Weltbuehn. Translated it would be New World State. I asked a friend of mine how is it possible that this party member comes to the OWI? He told me, “Well he had an OWI badge; he has some position as an adviser.” And he was at that time the Secretary of Dorothy Thompson. And Mr. Budzislawsky left and went back to Germany and is now professor at the University in Leipzig, the Soviet Zone, and Dorothy Thompson wrote an article about him, entitled “How I Was Duped by the Communists” [sic – actual title was “How I Was Duped By A Communist.”] This article appeared a few years ago in the Saturday Evening Post. 10
There are not many archival references to OWI Voice of America wartime radio programs to Yugoslavia, but there are a few brief mentions in the Congressional Record and in various archives about communist influence over these broadcasts. The Polish Ambassador to Washington Jan Ciechanowski who represented the Polish Government-in-Exile during the war was one of the key persons in Washington responsible for exposing the Soviet influence within the Office of War Information and the Voice of America to members of Congress and mainstream American media. Ciechanowski was in touch with the Yugoslav Embassy in Washington, which represented the anti-communist Yugoslav Government-in-Exile. The democratic governments-in-exile of Poland and Yugoslavia were officially recognized by the United States and were America’s allies in the war against Germany, but both were viewed by Stalin as enemies of his plans to establish Soviet control over the region, which he planned to achieve with the help of local communist parties. Anti-communist Poles and Yugoslavs were themselves targets of relentless Soviet propaganda and disinformation.
As a traditional diplomat, Ambassador Ciechanowski worked mostly behind the scenes in wartime Washington. His activities in fighting Soviet propaganda never became fully known, even after the war. But thanks, partly to his efforts, the Office of War Information lost nearly all of its funding from Congress in 1943 for domestic operations over management scandals and domestic media censorship that he helped to expose. Only part of the OWI budget was cut in 1943 for funding foreign radio broadcasts, but Congress sent a strong message of displeasure with the agency over the pro-Soviet activities of its officials and journalists.
Ambassador Ciechanowski wrote in a secret cable to the Polish Government-in-Exile in London, dated July 13, 1943, that pro-Soviet and communist propagandists gained control over Voice of America programs to Poland, Greece, Holland, and Yugoslavia. These were, of course, not the only countries targeted with pro-Soviet propaganda produced by VOA during the war, but unlike West Germany, France, Italy and Greece, they found themselves after the war under communist rule and, except for Yugoslavia and Albania, also under domination by Soviet Russia.
The O.W.I. started to attract mediocre journalists completely subservient to Davis’ [OWI Director Elmer Davis] politicized assistants mentioned above. Polish affairs were placed in the hands of a group of Polish citizens manifesting their pro-Soviet stand, such as T.N. Hudes, Al. Hertz, Art. Salman, M. Zlotowska and politically disoriented because of her long-term absence from Poland Mrs. Irena Balinska. She reports to Joseph Barnes, a declared communist, preparing flyers and propaganda publications designed for distribution in Poland.
As soon as this situation developed, I, personally, called Mr. Davis’ attention during a special visit to the inappropriate selection of Polish personnel. Despite his promises, my intervention produced no results. Similar interventions by Ambassadors from Greece, Holland, and Yugoslavia–countries whose O.W.I. desks are staffed by communists and army and navy deserters, etc.–also met the same fate.
Two of the former Voice of America journalists mentioned by Ambassador Ciechanowski in his 1943 secret diplomatic cable — Artur Salman (Stefan Arski) and Mira Złotowska (Michałowska) — became after the war propagandists for the Soviet-dominated communist regime in Warsaw. Salman-Arski was famed for his anti-U.S. propaganda and attacks on Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America. Mira Złotowska Michałowska published soft pro-communist regime propaganda in mainstream American news magazines under her pen name Mira Michal while obscuring her role as the wife of a prominent communist diplomat.There is less specific information in archival materials on who had worked in VOA’s Yugoslav Service during the war, but according to Congressman Roy Woodruff (R-MI), VOA broadcasts to both Yugoslavia and Poland were then strongly pro-communist and pro-Soviet. Congressman Woodruff’s disclosure of Russian and communist influence came a decade before Senator Joseph McCarthy started his embarrassing and failed crusade to find communists and Soviet agents in the State Department and in the Voice of America, who by then were long gone.
However, there were during World War II at the Voice of America Communist Party members and many more fellow travelers, although in most cases they were not active Soviet spies or agents. Some of them communicated with the Soviet Embassy and with known NKGB (the KGB’s predecessor) operatives in the United States. The chief VOA news editor and writer in 1943, Howard Fast, joined the Communist Party USA and left VOA under pressure in early 1944. He became a reporter and editor at the Communist Party’s paper, The Daily Worker, and in 1953 received the Stalin International Peace Prize.
A bipartisan congressional investigation in the early 1950s, which was not connected with Senator McCarthy and was not compromised by his anti-communist antics, determined that the Office of War Information, where Voice of America radio programs originated, broadcast Soviet propaganda during the war and covered up Stalinist crimes supporting the policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the military alliance with Soviet Russia. The aim of wartime American propaganda was to defeat Nazi Germany, but the congressional committee concluded that some of OWI activities and VOA broadcasts violated basic American values and harmed America’s long-term interests. 11
Only when key VOA managers, along with broadcasters, started to side with pro-Soviet communists in Italy and France, did the Roosevelt White House limit in 1943 the most blatant pro-communist programs. The State Department quietly forced the resignation of VOA’s first director John Houseman who recruited Howard Fast and other communists for VOA jobs. Later in 1943, several other pro-Soviet OWI officials were asked to submit their resignations. 12
The Pentagon feared that communist propaganda in English, French, and Italian VOA broadcasts could endanger the lives of American soldiers fighting in North Africa and Europe. There was much less concern within the Roosevelt administration and its propaganda agency with the fate of Yugoslavia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, but high-level State Department officials who were liberal Democrats and friends of President Roosevelt managed to convince the FDR White House to get rid of John Houseman. 13
However, most communist sympathizers among early VOA journalists, including those who prepared broadcasts to Yugoslavia, stayed in their jobs until at least the end of World War II, and in some cases even longer.
It is important to note that the term “propaganda” did not have the same strongly negative connotations when used by American officials, members of Congress and U.S. media during World War II to describe American information efforts, most of which were directed against Nazi and fascist propaganda and Japanese propaganda. Soviet propaganda and, to some degree, communist propaganda were not seen at that time by some Americans as alarmingly misleading or threatening. This was partly due to OWI’s own domestic propaganda aimed to convince Americans that Stalin was no longer a dictator but rather a radical democratic supporter of freedom and social progress.
On June 29, 1943, Congressman Emanuel Celler (D-NY), who at other times praised Stalin and the Soviet Union as defenders of peace, progress and democracy, inserted in the Congressional Record several articles defending the Office of War Information from congressional attempts to cut its budget for domestic and foreign propaganda activities.
[From the Birmingham Age Harold of June 21, 1943] “The fundamental error lies in the assumption that the work of the Domestic Division of the Office of War Information is concerned with propaganda and not the dissemination of news. It overlooks the fact that it can well be the duty of a Government to see that the people are correctly informed and as completely informed as possible, always, of course, with the provision that no restrictions be placed upon the private gathering and publishing of news.” 14
[From the Asheville Citizen of June 21, 1943] “Congress could not very well extinguish the whole Office of War Information program, which is integrated so securely with military operations. To Mr. Davis’ credit he has acknowledged that the Office of War Information’s overseas work is ‘frankly propaganda.’ And most everyone knows or should know its necessary uses in wartime. 15
The Soviet Union was, in fact, at that time America’s principal military ally against Nazi Germany. But even then some key members of the Roosevelt administration, including Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles 16, U.S. military leaders, including General Dwight Eisenhower 17, members of Congress and some American journalists were alarmed that Americans were being exposed to and influenced by U.S. government propaganda from the Office of War Information which included pro-Soviet and pro-communist disinformation.
Support for Stalin and his plans to install Moscow-controlled governments in Eastern Europe continued unabated in Voice of America programs until at least 1945 and for a few more years thereafter, although not with the same intensity as during the war. Some censorship of news reports about communist crimes lasted at the Voice of America until the early 1950s. A few pro-Soviet journalists who later declared themselves as communists worked at the Voice of America until 1945, and in one known case until 1947. 18
By the early 1950s, almost all pro-Soviet wartime VOA broadcasters were replaced by anti-communist refugee journalists, who helped to make VOA a strong force against Soviet propaganda later in the Cold War. Together with Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the new team of Cold War Voice of America refugee reporters and commentators contributed significantly to the eventual fall of communism in Europe.
It should be noted also that during World War II, the name “Voice of America” was not commonly used, and these programs were not referred to as VOA or Voice of America; they were called OWI programs or had various other names. Broadcasts for overseas audiences were identified as originating in OWI’s Overseas Division in New York, as described by Congressman Roy Woodruff in his speech to the House of Representatives on April 20, 1943:
“These reports tell us that much of this propaganda follows the American Communist Party line and is designed to prepare the minds of the Polish people to accept partition, obliteration, or suppression of their nation when the fighting ends. The same is true of Yugoslavia, where. I am told, the name of the great Mlhailovitch is blocked out by O. W. I. radicals.”
“I cannot understand why the Director of War Information is feeding Communist propaganda to the American people in regard to the conditions in Yugoslavia.”
At that time, propaganda broadcasts, as they were often described by OWI, were also redistributed and rebroadcast in the United States. Alarmed by pro-Soviet and pro-communist propaganda being pushed by U.S. government employees on Americans, Senator Robert Taft introduced a resolution demanding that all OWI materials, including what would later be described as Voice of America broadcasts in English and foreign languages, be made available for inspection by congressional staff and media. Congressman John Lesinski was also warning about Soviet and communist influence over Voice of America wartime broadcasts.
“I have followed with a great deal of interest the releases in regard to Yugoslavia, and I cannot understand why the Director of War Information is feeding Communist propaganda to the American people in regard to the conditions in Yugoslavia.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Arthur Bliss Lane, wrote in his 1948 book, I Saw Poland Betrayed, that Polish-American leaders later regretted allowing themselves to be deceived. He quoted the head of the Polish-American Congress, Charles Rozmarek, saying that “had the Yalta Conference been held before the presidential elections of 1944, Mr. Roosevelt would not have been re-elected, because of the votes of Americans linked by blood to those nations which had been ‘sold down the river’.” 19 There were about six million Polish-Americans in 1944. The number of Albanian-Americans was much smaller, but they were also overwhelmingly opposed to seeing their country of origin falling under communist rule. The Polish Government-in-Exile was officially recognized by the United States government and had an embassy and an ambassador in Washington who was able to see President Roosevelt on a few occasions. President Roosevelt also received top Polish Government-in-Exile leaders, but in the end he betrayed them and agreed, without consulting them and without their approval, to Stalin’s demand for nearly half of Poland’s pre-war territory.
Albania was in an even worse position. It did not have during the war a U.S.-recognized government. On July 5, 1945, the U.S. government withdrew its recognition of the Polish government-in-exile and recognized the Soviet-established government in Poland, which soon would be completely dominated by Communists loyal to Moscow.
In the end, these ethnic groups and their organizations did not have enough power and influence to force a reversal of the pro-Soviet policy course of the U.S. administration while President Roosevelt was still alive, but some of them managed to create enough bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Congress toward the Office of Information and its pro-communist and pro-Soviet propaganda to cause defunding of its domestic propaganda activities its eventual abolishment by President Truman in 1945, with the Voice of America operations being reduced and transferred to the State Department. VOA Albanian broadcasts were among those which were eliminated in 1945 even though the country had fallen under communist rule.
April 20, 1943
￼Mr. WOODRUFF of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, there Is no people for whom the American Nation has a greater sympathy than those of Poland. They have been crushed, pilloried, and persecuted from both sides of their boundaries. And every American on the battle front or on the home front wants to see the day when Poland will again be an independent nation taking its place in a friendly community of nations.
For 3 years the Polish Government In exile has been working to keep morale within Poland alive against the time of liberation. But now reports are constantly reaching me and other Members of Congress that the propaganda activities of the Polish Unit of O. W. I.’s Overseas Division are destroying rather than building the morale of the helpless Polish people.
These reports tell us that much of this propaganda follows the American Communist Party line and is designed to prepare the minds of the Polish people to accept partition, obliteration, or suppression of their nation when the fighting ends. The same is true of Yugoslavia, where. I am told, the name of the great Mlhailovitch is blocked out by O. W. I. radicals.
If It is true that Communists have infiltrated into the O.W.I.’s Overseas Division and are following the party line In their propaganda to Poland, as well as other countries, then it is an outrageous violation of the faith that is reposed in Elmer Davis and Robert Sherwood. If this is not true, then the Polish people in America are entitled to have allayed the rumors which may be enemy inspired.
The best way to find this out Is to have all of this propaganda made available here In the United States. The enemy knows all about it, so Americans should not be In the dark.
The press and Congress also should know the names and backgrounds of the people who have the delicate task of interpreting American ideals to foreign lands. I am informed that the man in charge of the Polish Overseas Unit of O. W. I. has not lived in Poland for 15 years and has been active in French Communist circles, coming recently to America.
￼The Truth in Regard to the Yugoslavian Situation
EXTENSION OF REMARKS
HON. JOHN LESINSKI OF MICHIGAN
IN THE HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, June 23, 1944
Mr. LESINSKI. Mr. Speaker, there has been much in the press in recent ￼weeks in regard to the Yugoslavian situation, and particularly in regard to Tito.
Under present war restrictions, news in regard to our allies—or, for that matter, any foreign country—is not printed unless it has the approval of the Office of War Information, of which Hon. Elmer Davis is Director.
I have followed with a great deal of interest the releases in regard to Yugoslavia, and I cannot understand why the Director of War Information is feeding Communist propaganda to the American people in regard to the conditions in Yugoslavia.
The American people are led to believe that Tito and his Partisan army has the support of the people of Yugoslavia, whereas, as a matter of fact, that is not so—General Mihailovich, the commander in chief of the Yugoslavian Army and also the minister of war of the Yugoslavian Government in Exile, has the support of the people of Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia was overrun by the Nazi hordes on October 6, 1941, and under the magnificent leadership of General Mihailovich, the people have been bravely fighting the savage invader since that time.
It would appear from recent international political incidents that the United States has forsaken two of its oldest allies in this war—Poland and Yugoslavia. Poland was the first country to be invaded by the Nazi, and since September 1, 1939, has been valiantly fighting the Germans. Certainly, Poland and Yugoslavia, which were among the earliest to suffer the devastation of Axis aggression, deserve to be honored by every member of the United Nations, and particularly by countries which did not ex￼perience the blow of the Axis aggressor until much later, such as our own Nation, on December 7, 1941, and the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. However, that does not appear to be the case, and is a matter to be greatly deplored and one which deserves the protest of all honest men who seek nothing of selfish gain for themselves out of this terrible Global War.
I wish to call attention to a sequence of events, with respect to Yugoslavia, which will correct the false impression given the American people by the propaganda released by the Office of War Information.
On May 5, 1944. General Velebit, chief of Tito’s military mission to England, said that Tito had an army of 300,000 fighting men and that Tito has liberated and now controls two-thirds of the territory of Yugoslavia. We have been given to understand through public announcements made by such authorities as Prime Minister Churchill that because of the vast army Tito has, it is the basis on which Great Britain, primarily, and the United States, secondarily, has switched their support from General Mihailovich to Tito. In brief, the fact that Tito is supposed to have liberated and now controls the major portion of the territory of Yugoslavia and that he has a larger and a more active fighting force opposing the Nazis than General Mihailovich, with some 300,000 men as against 16,000 under General Mihailovitch, as charged ￼by Tito, or 40,000 as claimed by General Mihailovitch.
The only honorable reason which the American people and the Allies can accept for abandoning General Mihailovich, who organized and maintained Yugoslav opposition to the Nazis ever since May 20, 1941, and for switching our support now to Tito who did not emerge as a leader of any opposition to the Nazi until the middle of 1942, would be only if it were true that Tito has won the support of the Yugoslav people, and General Mihailovich has lost the support of the people to such an extent that he is now able allegedly to muster no more than 16,000 men under arms, and that he has ceased—or practically ceased—to fight the Nazis, but the facts are just the opposite as have been revealed by recent events.
On May 25, 1944, a German broadcast reported a surprise raid on Tito’s headquarters by a few hundred Nazi parachutists. For 3 weeks this report remained unconfirmed by Allied sources. Then in a dispatch by Reuter’s, the semi-official British news agency, there came confirmation that Tito had fled his mountain retreat. The Reuter’s said that the sudden German attack necessitated the transfer of Tito’s headquarters from one part of Yugoslavia to another. But finally the truth came out as to Tito’s whereabouts; it was established that he had fled to Bari, Italy. Coincidently, Reuter’s reported that Tito is conducting negotiations with the new Yugoslav Premier, Dr. Ivan Subasic, somewhere in Yugoslavia. That also appears to be not so. The fact appears to be that the negotiations are being conducted in Italy. ￼
This sequence of events now raise questions which go to the very heart of the publicly announced reasons for switching Allied support from General Mihailovich to Tito.
The Nazi raid on Tito’s headquarters exploded the myth of Tito’s claim that he had 300,000 followers. No sensible person, whether they had military training or not, could be lead to believe that 300,000 men, secure in mountainous terrain, in a country where they knew every mountain pass and trail, could be dispersed—yes, annihilated—by a few hundred enemy parachutists. It also raises the question as to how it would be possible for a few German troops to drop from the skies and recapture the liberated territory claimed to comprise two-thirds of Yugoslavia, causing Tito to flee from his liberated territory and take refuge under Allied guns in Bari, Italy.
In reality Tito’s army never did consist of more than a band of Communist followers, and because of Great Britain’s wish to appease Stalin, they have been supporting Tito and have withdrawn their support from General Mihailovich, and the United States has apparently acquiesced to Great Britain’s wishes in the matter.
In view of Tito’s claims as to the enormous size of his army and the territory he is supposed to have liberated, which propaganda has been disseminated to the American people by the Office of War Information, there arises now in the mind ￼of any fair-thinking person doubt as to whether any of the claims made by Tito or in his behalf are true or ever were true.
This is obviously a most important question, and if Tito’s claims are not, or never were true, what are the reasons for switching Allied support from General Mihailovich to Stalin’s satellite, Tito? There is no need to exaggerate the import of these questions. There is no need to go to the extreme of denying or questioning the probable fact that Tito has been engaged in some military activities against the Nazis, and that he has helped to harass the foe, and there is no reason to belittle what Tito has actually done, and on the other hand, there is no need to exaggerate.
It is, indeed, unfortunate that the American people have been led to believe by releases of the Office of War Information and with statements of so-called facts which appear to support their contentions that Tito is the “whole show” in the Yugoslav opposition to the Nazis and that he has the unqualified support of the people of Yugoslavia.
It is reasonably clear, however, to anyone who takes the time to examine the facts, that Tito’s activities against the Nazis have been grossly misstated—small skirmishes were exaggerated into great campaigns—small bands of partisans were exaggerated into great armies, negligible hit-and-run raids against minor villages and uninhabited places were exaggerated into great military triumphs, and the passage of a handful of partisans through some tiny village was exaggerated into the imaginary capture of hundreds of great towns and thousands of miles of territory. ￼
In fact, there is still fresh in our memory the reports released through the Office of War Information from time to time as to how Tito had invaded Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Italy—of all these reports, the only one that now bears the faintest semblance of truth is the report that Tito invaded Italy. We now know it was not at the head of a victorious army, but as a refugee under the shelter of American and British arms, a leader who deserted his followers after a few hundred German paratroopers landed in their midst and captured two-thirds of his men; then by some means, the so-called great Tito was able to escape, leaving a greater portion of his followers to be either killed or captured by the Germans.
The only explanation for the wild exaggerations of Tito’s activities against the foe and the withholding of news from the American people as to the true situation in Yugoslavia is the desire of the O. W. I. to play ball with those who are charged with the responsibility of dishing out propaganda as to the British foreign policies. All that the American people know of what has been going on in Yugoslavia are through releases of the O.W.I., which come to us principally from London, or from Cairo and Bari—all three of which are centers of British control and British censorship.
It is indeed most significant that when the United Press attempted to send one of their correspondents to Yugoslavia at the Invitation of General Mikhailovich ￼so that the American public could obtain direct information, that the British detained the United Press correspondent in Cairo for 3 months until the United Press abandoned the effort in exasperation.
It is equally significant that when two correspondents were sent from Cairo to Yugoslavia, that they were John Talbot, representative of Reuter’s, the semiofficial British news agency, and Stoyan Pribicevich, Life and Time magazines correspondent who had for over 2 years been one of Tito’s leading propagandists in this country, and, incidentally, Talbot and Pribicevich were sent not to both General Mihailovich’s and Tito’s headquarters in Yugoslavia, but only to Tito’s headquarters.
General Mihailovich, as commander in chief of the Yugoslav armies, has extended repeated invitations and requested that Allied correspondents be permitted access to his headquarters and to the Yugoslav territory which he controlled, but to no avail. These facts tend to impress the fair-minded observer that a deliberate effort has been and is being made to obscure and minimize the efforts of the duly designated field commander of the legitimate Yugoslav Government, while, at the same time, false propaganda is being spread for the purpose of building up Tito’s prestige.
We know what has happened since the exposure of the Tito hoax. Even now, the new Yugoslav Premier, who was recently appointed by King Peter under British pressure, continues to negotiate with the discredited Tito in Bari, Italy, with a view to saving Tito’s prestige and position. ￼We note that the new Yugoslav Premier, Dr. Ivan Subasic, himself is unable to obtain the support of the Yugoslav people. We note that for more than a month he has been attempting to form a cabinet and that none of the political parties of Yugoslavia will permit their representatives to enter that cabinet.
Who is Dr. Subasic whom Churchill has forced upon King Peter? One of the most significant answers is provided by The Bulletin, published by the Communist pro-Tito propaganda machine in the United States, which even before—and after—his appointment as Premier carried his name as an honorary member.
Recently a United States military mission returned to the United States from Yugoslavia. This mission was comprised of two American Army officers who spent 6 months with General Mihailovich. The American officers were able to make first-hand inspection tours of areas comprising about three-fifths of the territory of Yugoslavia, all under the control of General Mihailovich.
I understand on reliable advices that the American military mission reported that General Mihailovich obviously had the support of the Yugoslav people in their fight against the Nazis, that he was energetically opposing the enemy in the field and harassing the Nazis throughout the length and breadth of that unfortunate land.
￼There is more than an inference that the report of the American military mission has been suppressed because when a request was made on the floor of this House that the two American officers who had spent more than 6 months with General Mihailovich in Yugoslavia be summoned to testify and render a report to the Military Affairs Committee of the House, both officers were cautioned against speaking on the subject, and one of them was almost immediately thereafter transferred to duty in China. The fact that these officers were not permitted to testify and the circumstances surrounding the suppression of their report as to General Mihailovieh’s activities, whereas the O.W.I. has been consistently issuing releases as to Tito’s activities and his prestige should be explained to the Congress and the American public.
The surprise raid of a few hundred German parachutists with one pin thrust completely exploded the Tito hoax and myth, and has demonstrated that the “Partisan army” of 300,000 is a fantasy of someone’s fevered imagination, and it follows that the alleged “liberation” by Tito of thousands of miles of Yugoslavia Is one of this war’s tremendous lies which has been broadcast to the American public by the O.W.I. for the purpose of building up Tito’s prestige and his communistic following.
The true facts expose the real situation in Yugoslavia—that the majority of the people of Yugoslavia do not support the partisans and that Tito does not have the support of the Yugoslav people.
￼Why, then, does the American Government policy, complaisant and compliant under British pressures which cannot bear open and honest scrutiny permit itself to be used to foist an odious Communist regime upon an unwilling people and to force Tito down their throats?
Why, also, does a compliant American foreign policy, tied as a tail to a British kite, permit the idealistic motives of the American people in this war to be twisted and perverted by the ruthlessness of power politics of other nations into serving ends that the American people, if they knew the truth, would never sanction?
Now that the Tito hoax has been exploded, is there some other reason why we continue to permit the American people to be misled as to what is really going on in Yugoslavia? And why does the United States find it necessary to abandon the valiant General Mihailovich, under whose leadership the brave fighting men and women of Yugoslavia have been fighting the Nazis since their country was invaded?
If there is any reason why our Government should cast aside General Mihailovich, the American people have a right to know what it is. If there is none, we have no reason to permit the continuing betrayal of the Yugoslav people and their Government-in-exile at the behest of the secret policy of another nation. The situation involves the honor of our Government’s foreign policy, based upon the provisions of the Atlantic Charter, and in the coming days of ￼peace may affect our own national interests.
This is an all-out war effort—we should give every assistance to all of our allies because they are fighting the Germans and every effort that is being put forth against the Germans—it matters not how small it may be—will save the lives of American fighting men. The people in the occupied countries—Poland and Yugoslavia—cannot fight bare-handed—they must have supplies and materials, and when our support is withdrawn from these recognized governments, the war effort is being handicapped. The eyes of the people of Poland and Yugoslavia are turned towards America for aid and assistance—they are depending upon America to bring about their deliverance—yet with more than 4 years of warfare behind them, they have not had delivered to them supplies and materials. It is true that the underground in both Poland and Yugoslavia are doing excellent work in harrasslng the Germans and sabotaging their military machine, but they could do far better work if they were given supplies and materials, and despite the many promises, they are becoming disallusioned because the supplies and materials promised have not been forthcoming. I am at a loss to understand why, and, in my opinion, the Congress and the American people should be given an explanation.
Recognition of Yugoslav Government of Liberation
EXTENSION OF REMARKS
HON. HENRY M. JACKSON OF WASHINGTON
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, June 23, 1944
Mr. JACKSON. Mr. Speaker, the valiant people of the Balkans have been suffering under the domination of the Hitlerite Fascist’s boot since the Nazis came to power in Germany. Prom the very first day when the Nazis came to power, they have been pouring agents through the Balkans intent upon dividing and conquering the little brave people of these small countries and converting them to slavery under the “master race.” Of all the peoples of the Balkans, one group more than any other has resisted from the very first the Hitler intimidation. It has fought back inch for inch, foot for foot, and yard for yard against the terror and torture of the Nazis. That group is the free people of Yugoslavia.
Mr. Speaker, Yugoslavia, like so many other countries, has had its “quislings.” ￼There have been many in Yugoslavia who are not averse to kneeling and groveling before the Fascists; boot lickers for a pound of sliver for the blood of their neighbor’s veins. There are some, Mr. Speaker, who first saw fit to fight and later on, wearying of the struggle, weak at heart and weak of mind, sold out to the would-be conquerors. But the very weakness of its leaders seemed only to add strength to the people’s movement for the liberation of Yugoslavia, and out of the chaos which rose from Hitler’s invasion of the Balkans in 1941 has come one man and one group which has never swerved from its determination to carry on the good fight against our common enemy. That is the partisan movement of Marshal Tito, the dynamic, brave, fiery leader of the free peoples fighting fascism in the mountains, the cities, the villages, and the fields of Yugoslavia today.
At this very moment, side by side with our own boys, uncounted numbers of whom have parachuted into partisan territory to take up the fight, and side by side with our heroic British allies, Marshal Tito’s forces continue to plague the Nazis at every point.
Who are the people who fight with Tito? The people who fight with Marshal Tito are the free people of Yugoslavia. The National Liberation Army banded together under Tito is composed of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes. Montenegrins, and Macedonians, It is composed of members of the Christian Socialist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party, the labor unions, and the Slovenian Catholic Party. In its ranks are Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in proportion to the relative strength of each of ￼these groups throughout all Yugoslavia. Its members know no party, know no race, know no separate creed, but only the common struggle against the common enemy.
While the traitors of the King Peter government have been busy carrying on continued collaboration with the enemy, Marshal Tito and his National Liberation Army have never ceased to fight and fight hard; yet our Government still permits agents of the proven traitor, Mihailovich, to use funds of the King Peter government to propagandize against this great hero, Tito, in the United States.
Yet, Mr. Speaker, there are still those In our State Department who try desperately to rescue the discredited Mihailovich clique from the oblivion into which it has so correctly sunk.
We must demand, Mr. Speaker, that the funds of the Yugoslav Government in the United States be transferred at once to the representatives of Marshal Tito and the national army of liberation which so valiantly fights our common enemy.
While our own fighting sons, brothers, and loved ones are dying on the beaches and the hills of France at the hands of the Nazis, we are making a mockery of the crosses which lie over their heads by permitting the continuance of the anti-Tito propaganda machine which has trafficked so viciously with the enemy under our very nose. ￼In my own State of Washington, reside many thousand Yugoslav Americans. They are a splendid, hard working, patriotic people—the finest type of American citizens. Those Yugoslav Americans are unanimous in their sup- port and faith in the government of liberation in Yugoslavia. They are united in calling upon our Government to freeze the funds held in this country by the royal government in exile. They demand that these funds be diverted to the use of its partisan armies under Josip Broz and to the restoration of their country after the war.
Mr. Speaker, let me point out further that the Senate in the State of Washington has unanimously passed a resolution urging recognition by our Government of the liberation government of Yugoslavia, and the freezing of the funds now held by the royal government in exile.
Mr. Speaker, I submit we should join our efforts with the Yugoslav Americans of our country in bringing about full recognition to the liberation government of Yugoslavia.
Congressional Record — Senate
April 19, 1943
￼DISCLOSURE OF GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA MATERIAL
Mr. TAFT. Mr. President, I am submitting today in the Senate two resolutions requiring the Office of War Information and the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs to file with the Secretary of the Senate all propaganda material which this country is distributing to the people of foreign nations and to its own armed forces.
Under present conditions, propaganda is undoubtedly a valuable weapon in the war, although I think its importance is overemphasized by many. Paced with a propaganda directed against us, it is undoubtedly necessary to resort to counter-propaganda and to psychological attacks upon the morale of the enemy. Our Government is, therefore, spending millions of dollars today on short-wave propaganda to foreign countries in every conceivable language and for the distribution of printed matter throughout the world.
It is obvious to me that the people of the United States want to know what is being said in their behalf. What promises are being made? What statements of national policy are being disseminated throughout the world? Ugly rumors are abroad that much of this short-wave broadcasting is futile and idiotic, and very inferior to that of other nations. It is said that some of it is communistic and some of it is fascistic, and that much of it tries to play European politics, about which we know nothing, instead of presenting the American point of view.
We certainly do not wish to be accused later of double-crossing foreign people because we do not carry out the statements made secretly in our behalf and without our knowledge by irresponsible Government employees, many of whom are not even Americans. ￼There can be no claim that this material must be kept secret, for in its very nature it is being broadcast to all the world. It is already in the hands of all enemy governments and United Nations governments. Only in America it seems to be impossible to obtain copies, and the American people are the only people in the world who do not have access to it.
Finally, it is important that there be a complete historical record of all features of this propaganda organization. Unless an official record is required, much of the material is likely to be destroyed. Perhaps some of it is already destroyed.
I am also submitting a resolution to require the filing of O. W. I. material distributed to the armed forces. Conceivably some of this may require secrecy, and I have therefore provided that upon request of the general staffs secrecy will be ordered, but I doubt whether the heads of the armed forces are transmitting any secret orders or instructions to their soldiers and sailors ￼through the O. W. I. Samples of O. W.I. propaganda which we have already seen lead me to doubt seriously whether the soldiers are receiving an impartial account of the facts dealt with by the propaganda they receive. Propaganda by any government is basically dangerous. We have seen the effects of its misuse in foreign lands. Surely in the United States of America there is no reason why it should be conducted in
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The two resolutions submitted by the Senator from Ohio will be received and appropriately referred.
The resolution (S. Res. 140) was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, as follows:
Whereas the Government of the United States during the war period has found it necessary to embark upon a campaign of transmitting news, information, and propaganda to the peoples of foreign lands by radio, written literature, and motion pictures; and
Whereas it Is highly desirable that the Congress and the people of the United States have full information regarding the matter which is thus being distributed, including particularly the policies declared and promises made In their behalf; and
Whereas, although this matter is being widely disseminated to enemy nations and is necessarily fully available to the people of enemy nations and of the United Nations, but is not available to the American people, the Congress of the United States, and the American press and radio:
Now, therefore, be It Resolved.
That the Director of the Office of War Information and the Coordinator or Inter-American Affairs are hereby directed to file with the Secretary of the Senate of the United States within 2 weeks after the passage of this resolution:
￼(1) Authoritative transcripts of all material broadcast since January 1, 1943, by short wave or otherwise, to countries other than the United States of America, including the nations of the Western Hemisphere, this material to be deposited both in the language in which it was broadcast and in a direct English translation thereof, together with actual recordings of such broadcasts where such recordings are available;
(2) Copies of all written literature distributed tn any manner among the people of such foreign countries since September 1, 1942, this material to be deposited in the form and language In which it was distributed, and in a direct English translation thereof;
(3) Copies or prints of ail motion pictures, or other visual material circulated among the people of such foreign countries since September 1, 1942; be It further Resolved, that after the adoption of this resolution the Director of the Office of War Information and the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs shall deposit daily with the Secretary of the Senate of the United States the material described In paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) above within 72 hours after any such material reaches the foreign people to whom it is directed; be It further Resolved, that the material so deposited shall, upon its deposit with the Secretary of the Senate, be available for inspection, study, and publication by authorized representatives of Members of Congress and by authorized representatives of the press, radio, and magazines of the United States.
The resolution (S. Res. 141) was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, as follows:
Whereas the Office of War Information is producing sound-recorded material, printed ￼material, motion pictures, and other visual material, and distributing the same to the armed forces of the Doited States; and
Whereas the men In such armed forces do not have available all the information and material distributed through ordinary press, radio, and motion-picture channels, and particularly when they are overseas their information is largely dependent on the mamaterial supplied by the Office of War Information;
Whereas the citizens of the United States, and particularly the relatives of members of the armed forces, have a direct and vital interest in knowing what material is supplied to the armed forces:
Now, therefore, be It Resolved,
That the Director of the Office of War Information is hereby directed to deposit with the Secretary of the Senate ail such material, whether sound recorded, printed, written, or Aimed, within 1 week after such material is distributed to the armed forces of the United States; and be
It further Resolved,
That such material shall upon deposit with the Secretary of the Senate, be available for Inspection, study, and publication by authorized representatives of Congress and authorized representatives of the press, radio, and magazines of the United States; unless in any ease It is accompanied by a certificate of the General Staff of the Army or the General Staff of the Navy that such material is a military secret, in which case such material shall be deposited In the Congressional Library and preserved for public use whenever the General Staff giving the certificate shall certify that secrecy is no longer necessary.
Robert E. Sherwood
Robert E. Sherwood was born in 1896 in New Rochelle, New York. His father was a wealthy stockbroker; his mother an illustrator and portrait painter. He obtained his university degree from Harvard. During World War I he enlisted with the Canadian armed forces, fought in Europe and was wounded. Before World War II, he emerged as a talented playwright and was a member of the New York City group of writers, critics, and actors known as the Algonquin Round Table. After the success of his plays on Broadway, he began writing for the movies in the 1920s. In 1940, he wrote a play, There Shall Be No Night, about the Soviet Union’s invasion of Finland, which followed the Nazi and Soviet invasion, occupation and annexation of Poland under the secret terms of the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact which helped to launch the Second World War. In the preface to his play, Sherwood wrote in 1940 that “the sole purpose” of Soviet “propaganda in the United States” was “to spread confusion and disunion.” He also wrote that the reluctance of the United States to give help to Finland shocked” him. 20 But when Hitler attacked his former Soviet ally in June 1941 and Sherwood became FDR’s speechwriter and a U.S. government propagandist, he quickly changed his view of Soviet Russia, otherwise he would have to disagree with President Roosevelt and lose his job. Like many Western European and American fellow travelers, Sherwood managed to explain away Stalin’s initial alliance with Nazi Germany, his attack on Finland and the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
Before being recruited by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to help develop American war propaganda, Sherwood was already a well-known Hollywood screenwriter. For most of the World War II, he was the second person in command at the Office of War Information agency and the top official in charge of Voice of America broadcasts. He resigned from his position as Director of the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information on September 25, 1944, to campaign for the re-election of President Roosevelt. 21 Sherwood died in New York City in 1955.
The declassified Office of War Information memoranda and cables show Sherwood as one of the softer pro-Soviet fellow travelers in the Roosevelt Administration. At the Office of War Information, he fought against what he described in one of his secret telegrams as the “bogey of Bolshevism” — what he believed to be an irrational fear of communism, Stalin, and the Soviet Union in the United States and abroad.
Ironically, unknown to Sherwood, the person mentioned in his telegram, a Polish-American Roman-Catholic priest, played a part in a Soviet secret police propaganda operation designed to deceive President Roosevelt and Western public opinion into believing that Stalin was a supporter of religious freedom. The priest’s KGB handler was in touch with one of the VOA Polish Service broadcasters who after the war joined the Communist Party and worked as an anti-U.S. propagandist for the Soviet-controlled regime in Poland. 22
Fortunately, many Americans, including members of the U.S. Congress were not deceived by such disinformation and Soviet propaganda, but President Roosevelt, Robert E. Sherwood and other OWI and VOA officials and broadcasters were not only spectacularly misled but also helped to spread the Soviet deception to Americans and foreign audiences. Their censorship and propaganda made it easier for President Roosevelt and others to accept the idea that Stalin and Communists could be trusted to secure peace and democracy in Europe after the war. It helped to justify the Yalta Agreement, which rewarded Stalin by changing the borders of smaller nations without consulting them, including those who were members of the anti-Nazi alliance. It deprived millions of their homes and forced them to become refugees. The Voice of America remained silent about their plight for several years, as it was silent earlier about Stalin’s deportations of millions of people of various nationalities to the Gulag slave labor camps.
The people of East-Central Europe and the Balkans for decades paid a heavy price for the miscalculation of a small group of privileged, highly educated and idealistic men in charge of the early Voice of America who were supposed to be top experts in understanding and responding to propaganda but were deceived by Soviet disinformation and failed to protect American principles and values.
The countries closest to Russia probably could not avoid their post-war fate because of the presence on the ground of the Red Army troops. The future of the Balkans, however, was less clear. Despite criticism by some members of Congress and criticism in the press, the Roosevelt Administration chose to support Communists in Yugoslavia and in Albania. It was later too late to reverse the slide toward communism in the region, but the Truman Administration with the support of the U.S. Congress managed to save Greece. Contrary to what Robert E. Sherwood and other Founding Fathers of the Voice of America thought, there was much to fear about Soviet-style Communism. Their mistakes were eventually rectified in a bipartisan effort beginning with the Truman Administration. This included hiring new anti-communist refugee journalists and changing Voice of America programming starting in the early 1950s. Harry Truman, who was Roosevelt’s Vice President and also a Democrat, did not have much prior experience in foreign policy, but he had a much more sober view of the Soviet Union.
VOA Director John Houseman and Other Fellow Travelers
Hardly any people today know that during World War II, the Voice of America’s management had coordinated closely the content of VOA news and commentary with Soviet propaganda. Robert E. Sherwood, described by some as Voice of America’s “Founding Father,” was the chief supporter of this effort at the senior level together with radio bureau director Joseph Barnes and VOA radio production director John Houseman. 23 Even though the basic Albanian directive does not show significant Soviet propaganda influence and could have been written almost the same way by the State Department, some of the memorandum’s wording is clearly supportive of Soviet and communist goals in the region.
In this case, Soviet propaganda influence seems to go only as far as what the Roosevelt White House would have wanted the Voice of America to do in its wartime broadcasts to Albania: showing support for various communist groups fighting the Nazis and speaking of Soviet Russia in positive terms. Some of VOA’s early officials and journalists, however, were much more enthusiastic in embracing the Soviet Union and various communist causes than President Roosevelt and his administration would want them to be. This led to conflicts with the State Department, the Pentagon and various governments in exile which together with the United States were part of the anti-Nazi coalition but felt threatened by Stalin and their own communist parties.
The Voice of America has never acknowledged that many of its early officials and journalists were Soviet sympathizers. The first VOA chief news writer and editor of English-language programs was another best-selling American author, Howard Fast. He later became a Communist Party USA activist and was the 1953 recipient of the Stalin International Peace Prize. 24 Even the Roosevelt Administration forced some Voice of America communist journalists and Soviet sympathizers to resign quietly, including John Houseman, who later was described as the first Voice of America director even though he served under Robert Sherwood and Joseph Barnes and was largely in charge of radio production. Sherwood and Barnes rather than Houseman were primarily responsible for determining the programming policy and the overall content of early VOA broadcasts. Houseman was forced to leave his VOA job in 1943 and Howard Fast in 1944 when high-level U.S. State Department officials refused to give them U.S. passports for official government travel abroad on VOA’s business. It was a way of getting rid at least some of the most active Soviet sympathizers responsible for wartime Voice of America broadcasts.
Future U.S. President, General Dwight Eisenhower, and other U.S. military leaders also objected to some of VOA’s Soviet-influenced wartime broadcasts because they endangered the lives of American soldiers. 25
The Office of War Information Director Elmer Davis fired Barnes in 1943 together with two other of Sherwood’s top aides, although the firings were officially presented as resignations. 26
Much of the information about the early Voice of America history has been suppressed by former and current officials afraid of negative publicity. Writers about VOA’s history have been usually American-born, politically left-leaning former officials or reporters who did not experience life under communism. They felt it would be better not to embarrass their former employer or any U.S. administration, particularly the Democrats, by exposing failures and foreign influence in VOA’s early years.
The Voice of America was established during the Democratic Administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) who led America to victory in World War II. He did it with relatively few American casualties thanks to the allied Soviet Red Army doing most of the fighting, albeit in defense of Soviet Russia’s and Stalin’s own existence. The concessions at smaller countries’ expense made at the time by FDR to Stalin eventually deprived millions of people of liberty, but FDR chose to accept Stalin’s assurances that countries within Russia’s sphere of influence would have democratically elected governments. By distorting history, practicing selective censorship and portraying Communists as supporters of freedom and democracy, American government propagandists helped to sell to Americans at home and to people abroad Roosevelt’s concessions to Stalin and the Soviet dictator’s false assurances.
The Robert E. Sherwood 1943 Albania memorandum was relatively free of overt pro-Soviet and pro-communist messages, probably because Albania was not of major concern either to the United States or to Russia. Reading between the lines shows, however, that under Sherwood’s watch, American propaganda was significantly in sync with Soviet propaganda. Not all Americans approved of such propaganda and had more Americans known about it at the time, they would have overwhelmingly objected to pro-communist and pro-Soviet radio broadcasts. Members of Congress of both parties, who knew about it, did object. More importantly, senior State Department officials, some of them friends of President Roosevelt, including Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, took behind the scenes actions in an attempt to clear the Office of War Information and the Voice of America of communist and Soviet influence. It was Welles’ decision to deny a U.S. passport to VOA Director John Houseman and to expose secretly to the White House Houseman’s boss, Joseph Barnes, as a Soviet sympathizer. Welles, however, did not report on Robert E. Sherwood, probably because he knew that FDR would protect him.
Nello Drizari and VOA Albanian Service
I have not come across any documents describing the content of early Voice of America Albanian broadcasts. During World War II, Albania was not a major target of Soviet propaganda because it was a small nation located on the periphery of Soviet communist dictator Joseph Stalin’s intended post-war sphere of influence. The wartime VOA, however, strongly supported Tito’s Yugoslav communist partisans, as well as Albanian communist fighters. It was also the wish and official policy of President Roosevelt and his administration. Tito was at that time one of Stalin’s allies, although he would later break his ties with Moscow. Albanian communists were also pro-Soviet during the war and only later their leader, Enver Hoxha, had a falling out both with Tito’s Yugoslavia and with the Soviet Union. U.S.-Albanian diplomatic relations were ended in 1939 after Albania’s occupation by Italy (1939-43) and Germany (1943-44) and were reestablished in 1991 after the fall of communism in Albania.
According to the Voice of America Public Relations Office and previously published VOA documents, VOA Albanian radio broadcasts were inaugurated in 1942 together with many others sometime after German, Italian and French programs went on the air (later the New York-originated shortwave transmissions to Albania were supplemented by medium wave transmission from Bari, Italy). The first head of the Voice of America Albanian Service was Albanian-American intellectual, academic, journalist, historian, linguist writer and painter Nelo Drizari (his real name was Zenel Sulaj). Born in 1902, he emigrated to the United States at the age of 12 and graduated with a degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. The author’s biography in his 1968 book about the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, said that Drizari “headed the Albanian Unit of the Office of War Information and was script editor and announcer for the Voice of America.” 27 He was also a lecturer in Albanian language and literature at Columbia. After the war, he organized the Albanian Department at the Army Language School (Defense Language Institute) in Monterey, California.
Unlike many of the other wartime Voice of America broadcasters, Nello Drizari was not a communist or Soviet sympathizer but had to follow central programming policy. VOA Albanian broadcasts were canceled in 1945 and reinstated May 13, 1951.
A former VOA Albanian Service broadcaster who had worked there during the later part of the Cold War told me that neither Professor Nelo Drizari nor other Albanian journalists who had launched first VOA radio programs to Albania from New York in 1942 were communist sympathizers. That was not the case in many other VOA World War II era broadcasting services. According to members of the U.S. Congress who were at the time highly critical of the Office of War Information, both Yugoslav and Greek VOA desks had during the war pro-communist and pro-Soviet journalists. 28 The VOA Polish desk had a few broadcasters who would later work for the communist regime in Poland. 29
Nelo Drizari’s name and books were banned in Albania under the later rule of the country’s longtime, brutal communist dictator Enver Hoxha. Far from being a communist sympathizer, Drizari was an early supporter of King Zogu’s monarchy. As President of the New York Branch of the Albanian Federation of America, he published a letter to the Editor of the New York Times on September 23, 1928, in which he wrote that Albanians were enthusiastic about King Zogu because he put them on “a par with other civilized nations” and provided them with a stable government. 30
In his lengthy 1928 letter to the New York Times, Drizari showed his anti-communism and a good understanding of Soviet propaganda when he criticized former government leaders in Albania who turned for help to Soviet Russia. He called them “self-styled liberals.”
Russia recognized Albania, and promptly sent to Tirana, capital of Albania, six secretaries and a truckload of picked Cossack girls. All signs, baits and decoys pointed toward a communistic Albania, with Tirana as the nest of Soviet propaganda in the Balkans. 31
In another letter to the Editor of the New York Times published on December 25, 1941, Drizari expressed the indignation of many Albanian-Americans over the news of the installation of a fascist puppet government in Albania by the occupying Italian forces. 32
Soviet and Communist Influence at VOA
The VOA Albanian Service may have been spared some of the most direct Soviet and communist influence present in other VOA services during the early years, but everybody at the Voice of America at that time had to follow the OWI propaganda directives issued by Robert E. Sherwood and use centrally prepared news and scripts written by Soviet sympathizers and in some cases Communist Party members. They censored any information critical of Joseph Stalin. Reporting that Stalin was a mass murderer almost on a par with Hitler would make it impossible for President Roosevelt to present the Soviet leader and Soviet Russia to Americans and the world as guarantors of peace, security and democracy after the war.
Few Voice of America journalists dared to question the pro-Moscow line of the senior management and VOA’s central newsroom editors. One VOA Polish Service journalist who was critical of the pro-Soviet programming policy received a warning not to make waves against the Voice of America director and President Roosevelt. The Polish broadcaster, Konstanty Broel Plater, resigned rather than to agree to read Soviet propaganda lies, but he did not make his protest public at the time (VOA World War II employees had to sign secrecy agreements) and is the only one at the wartime Voice of America whom I have been able to identify in my research as taking a principled stand against communist influence and resigning. 33
The Albania directive written by Sherwood promoted the need “to give prominence to news about common actions on the part of Yugoslav and Albanian fighters.” It called for stressing “the advantages of Balkan cooperation and solidarity without going into the question of frontiers.” The directive also provided guidance on encouraging resistance against the Nazis but advised against advocating for armed resistance unless specific instructions were issued.
Express appreciation of Albanian resistance.
Caution: Do not incite to violence or sabotage, unless specifically instructed to do so.
There were more cautions in the directive, designed to avoid antagonizing Greece and Yugoslavia.
Caution: Refrain from all discussion of Greek claims to territory in former free Albania and in present puppet Albania.
Refrain from statements of comments that might antagonize Greece and Yugoslavia. Many Greeks and Slavs know Albanian and some may overhear our broadcasts.
Many of VOA’s higher-level wartime managers, as well as many rank and file broadcasters, were deceived by Soviet propaganda into promoting what they regarded as a progressive Soviet experiment with socialism and communism. Voice of America wartime broadcasts gave support to the establishment of Moscow-friendly, communist-dominated governments in East-Central Europe and in the Balkans. Albania was on the list of these countries, but it was not as important to Soviet and VOA propagandists as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia.
Eventually, Robert E. Sherwood became a liability even for President Roosevelt, who had great trust in Stalin and was willing to appease him at the expense of small nations in East-Central Europe and in the Balkans. The Roosevelt White House was not happy that Sherwood as the official in charge of U.S. overseas broadcasting failed to establish sufficient control over pro-Kremlin VOA propagandists he employed, but President Roosevelt valued him a speechwriter and would not allow him to be dismissed from his OWI job. After a falling out with the OWI director, Elmer Davis, an American journalist who himself produced pro-Soviet propaganda commentaries for VOA and domestic U.S. media but was not as pro-Moscow as Sherwood and some of his closest subordinates, Sherwood was sent to London where he was in charge of coordinating propaganda with the British and with representatives of the Soviet Embassy. From there, he argued in secret cables sent to Washington that the Voice of America should support the view that Stalin was no longer an enemy of religion and was ready to accept religious freedom.
Sherwood was naive and easily deceived by Soviet propaganda and the Soviet NKVD and later KBG secret police operatives and agents who provided him with doctored information, but he was an extremely talented writer. It took several decades and the hard and still largely unrecognized work of many anti-communist refugee Voice of America journalists and broadcasters of the later Cold War period to undo the damage done by mostly well-meaning but naive officials like Robert E. Sherwood. The early Voice of America leaders and journalists were deeply committed to removing brutal fascist dictatorships and defeating a dehumanizing ideology. They failed to grasp that they were also helping Stalin, Soviet Russia and local communists impose by force on millions of people another tyranny, almost as deadly as the one they were fighting against, and force them to live impoverished lives under a failed economic system. White male U.S. government officials from privileged backgrounds who during World War II were in charge of the Voice of America, most of them U.S.-born, had a completely distorted view of Soviet communism. But it was not the view of the majority of Americans. Distinguished State Department diplomats like Sumner Welles, Adolf Berle or George Kennan who came from a similar background were far more skeptical about Soviet Russia than the early Voice of America propagandists who looked at the world with the eyes of Hollywood or were followers of the fellow traveler school of journalism of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty who helped the Kremlin deceive the world about the starvation deaths of millions of Ukrainians, Russians, and people of other nationalities in the Soviet communist-induced Hodomor famine of the 1930s.
In the end, the American government, thanks to critics in the U.S. Congress, media, human rights and ethnic organizations, recovered its moral compass. Neither Albania nor Poland would be free and democratic today without America’s long-lasting Cold War commitment to opposing the Soviet Union.
Here is some more of what Robert E. Sherwood wrote about Albania to provide guidance for VOA broadcasts and for preparing other propaganda materials by employees of the United States Office of War Information:
A. Basic Considerations
2. The new state of Albania, whose boundaries were definitely fixed in 1926 contained only 2/3 of the Albanian people. Most of the others were in Yugoslavia; and the rest in Greece.
3. Prior to that time, the Albanians had never been free united nation and had no strong national consciousness. They had no school system, no well-developed national literature, and no generally accepted Albanian dialect.
9. Many Albanians, though detesting Italian domination, hesitate to oppose the Axis because:
(b) They fear that if the Italians were driven out, Albania might be swallowed up by Yugoslavia and Greece.
The United States has never recognized the annexation of Albania by Italy.
A fairly large number of Albanians have migrated to the United States, fairly large sums of money have been sent from America to Albania, Americans have played a leading role in Albanian education, and America has been an important factor in Albanian development. Consequently, America is held in high esteem by most Albanians.
In view of this America should be given a prominent place in our communications to Albania with special stress on the following points:
1. The might and power of America.
2. Our total war effort.
3. Our tradition of never being beaten.
4. Democracy and neighborliness in America.
5. Freedom of the individual. Education. Culture.
6. The mingling of immigrants from many sources into a United American nation.
7. Americans at work, at school and at play.
8. America’s relations with its smaller neighbors.
9. America’s war and peace aims.
10. The President as a champion of freedom against bullying despots.
(Signed) Robert E. Sherwood
Director, Overseas Branch
1943 O.W.I. BASIC DIRECTIVE — ALBANIA
- Robert E. Sherwood, “O.W.I. Basic Directive — Albania.” National Archives and Records Administration. Record Group 208. Records of the Office of War Information, Director of Overseas Operations, Record Set of Policy Directives for Overseas Programs, 1942-1945 (Entry 363). Regional Directives (January 1943 to October 1943). Box 820. National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. ↩
- National Archives and Records Administration. Record Group 208. Records of the Office of War Information, Director of Overseas Operations, Record Set of Policy Directives for Overseas Programs, 1942-1945 (Entry 363). Regional Directives (January 1943 to October 1943). Box 820. National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.↩
- ”Senator Taft’s early warning of Soviet propaganda in WWII Voice of America,” Cold War Radio Museum, April 2, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/senator-tafts-early-warning-of-soviet-propaganda-in-wwii-voa/. ↩
- ”HISTORY How Congress Exposed, Defunded and Stopped Domestic U.S. Government Propaganda in 1943,” USAGM Watch, June 22, 2020, https://bbgwatch.com/bbgwatch/history-how-congress-exposed-defunded-and-stopped-domestic-u-s-government-propaganda-in-1943/. ↩
- Rudolf Rummel, Statistics of Democide, “Chapter 9: Statistics of Yugoslavia’s Domocide — Estimates, Calculations, and Sources,” https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP9.HTM. ↩
- The European Division (VOA/PE), July 1981. ↩
- “How a refugee journalist exposed Voice of America censorship of the Katyn Massacre,” Cold War Radio Museum, April 16, 2018, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/how-refugee-journalist-exposed-voice-of-america-katyn-censorship/. ↩
- Julius Epstein, “The O.W.I. and the Voice of America,” a reprint from the Polish American Journal, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1951. ↩
- Julius Epstein, Executive Session, September 19, 1952, Hearings Before the Select Committee to Conduct An Investigation of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, 25-16. ↩
- Julius Epstein, Executive Session, September 19, 1952, Hearings Before the Select Committee to Conduct An Investigation of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, 47-48. ↩
- The bipartisan Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, also known as the Madden Committee after its chairman Ray J. Madden (D-IN), said in its final report issued in December 1952: “In submitting this final report to the House of Representatives, this committee has come to the conclusion that in those fateful days nearing the end of the Second World War there unfortunately existed in high governmental and military circles a strange psychosis that military necessity required the sacrifice of loyal allies and our own principles in order to keep Soviet Russia from making a separate peace with the Nazis.” The committee added: “For reasons less clear to this committee, this psychosis continued even after the conclusion of the war. Most of the witnesses testified that had they known then what they now know about Soviet Russia, they probably would not have pursued the course they did. It is undoubtedly true that hindsight is much easier to follow than foresight, but it is equally true that much of the material which this committee unearthed was or could have been available to those responsible for our foreign policy as early as 1942.” The Madden Committee also said in its final report in 1952: “This committee believes that if the Voice of America is to justify its existence, it must utilize material made available more forcefully and effectively.” A major change in VOA programs occurred, with much more reporting being done on the investigation into the Katyń massacre and other Soviet atrocities, but later some censorship returned. Radio Free Europe (RFE), also funded and indirectly managed by the U.S., never resorted to such censorship, and provided full coverage of all communist human rights abuses. See: Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, The Katyn Forest Massacre: Final Report (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1952), 10-12. The report is posted on the National Archives website: https://archive.org/details/KatynForestMassacreFinalReport. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “First VOA Director was a pro-Soviet Communist sympathizer, State Dept. warned FDR White House,” Cold War Radio Museum, May 5, 2018, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/state-department-warned-fdr-white-house-first-voice-of-america-director-was-hiring-communists/. ↩
- The memorandum about Soviet and communist influence within the wartime Voice of America, signed off with a cover memo by Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, a distinguished career diplomat and a major foreign policy advisor to President Roosevelt and his friend, was forwarded to the White House with the date, April 6, 1943. The attached memorandum with the addendum listing names of individuals who had been denied U.S. passports for government travel abroad was dated April 5, 1943. The documents were declassified in the mid-1970s and have been accessible online for some time from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum Website and the National Archives. It appears, however, that they have never been widely disclosed and analyzed before now. They are presented for the first time with a historical analysis on the Cold War Radio Museum website. Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles April 6, 1943 memorandum to Marvin H. McIntyre, Secretary to the President with enclosures, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum Website, Box 77, State — Welles, Sumner, 1943-1944; version date 2013. State — Welles, Sumner, 1943-1944, From Collection: FDR-FDRPSF Departmental Correspondence, Series: Departmental Correspondence, 1933 – 1945 Collection: President’s Secretary’s File (Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration), 1933 – 1945, National Archives Identifier: 16619284. ↩
- 89 Cong. Rec. (Bound) – Volume 89, Part 11 (June 9, 1943 to December 21, 1943), A3307. ↩
- Ibid. A3308. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “First VOA Director was a pro-Soviet Communist sympathizer, State Dept. warned FDR White House,” Cold War Radio Museum, May 5, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/state-department-warned-fdr-white-house-first-voice-of-america-director-was-hiring-communists/. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “General Eisenhower accused WWII VOA of ‘insubordination’,” Cold War Radio Museum, May 14, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/general-eisenhower-accused-wwii-voa-of-insubordination/. Footnote in “Waging Peace” by Dwight D. Eisenhower: “During World War II the Office of War Information had, on two occasions in foreign broadcasts, opposed actions of President Roosevelt; it ridiculed the temporary arrangement with Admiral Darlan in North Africa and that with Marshal Badoglio in Italy. President Roosevelt took prompt action to stop such insubordination.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Waging Peace 1956-1961 (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1965) 279. ↩
- At least two World War II Voice of America journalists who earlier had held key positions in the Polish Service (Stefan Arski, a.k.a Artur Salman and Mira Złotowska), and the Czechoslovak Service (service chief Dr. Adolf Hoffmeister), went to work for communist regimes after the war. In 1947, Arski became an influential anti-U.S. propagandist for the communist regime in Poland, while Hoffmeister was Czechoslovak Ambassador to France from 1948 to 1951. ↩
- Arthur Bliss Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed: An American Ambassador Reports to the American People (Indianapolis and New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1948), p. 62. ↩
- Robert E. Sherwood, There Shall Be No Night (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940), p. xxvii. ↩
- “Sherwood Resigns His OWI Post To Aid Campaign for Roosevelt,” The New York Times, accessed July 8, 2021, http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1944/09/26/86878373.html?pageNumber=14. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “Voice of America Polish Writer Listed As His Job Reference Stalin’s KGB Agent of Influence Who Duped President Roosevelt,” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), February 12, 2020, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/voice-of-america-polish-editor-listed-stalins-kgb-agent-of-influence-as-job-reference/. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “First VOA Director Was a Pro-Soviet Communist Sympathizer, State Dept. Warned FDR White House,” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), May 5, 2018, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/state-department-warned-fdr-white-house-first-voice-of-america-director-was-hiring-communists/. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “Created 70 Years Ago, Stalin Peace Prize Went in 1953 to Former Voice of America Chief News Writer Howard Fast,” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), December 21, 2019, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/created-70-years-ago-today-stalin-peace-prize-went-in-1953-to-former-voice-of-america-chief-news-writer-howard-fast/. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “General Eisenhower Accused WWII VOA of ‘Insubordination,’” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), May 14, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/general-eisenhower-accused-wwii-voa-of-insubordination/. ↩
- “OWI DISPUTE ENDED WITH DAVIS OUSTING 3 SHERWOOD AIDES; Settlement of Overseas Branch Clash That Was Carried to President Is Announced NEW APPOINTMENTS MADE Expansion of Psychological Warfare and Aid in Freed Areas Is Promised ELMER DAVIS HAS SOME INFORMATION OWI DISPUTE ENDED AS 3 IN CITY RESIGN,” The New York Times, accessed July 8, 2021, http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1944/02/08/87434407.html?pageNumber=1. ↩
- Nelo Drizari, Scanderbeg : His Life, Correspondence, Orations, Victories and Philosophy (Palo Alto, California: The National Press, 1968). ↩
- Ted Lipien, “Voice of America WWII Communist Propaganda to Yugoslavia,” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), September 13, 2020, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/voice-of-america-wwii-communist-propaganda-to-yugoslavia/. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “Voice of America Polish Writer Listed As His Job Reference Stalin’s KGB Agent of Influence Who Duped President Roosevelt,” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), February 12, 2020, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/voice-of-america-polish-editor-listed-stalins-kgb-agent-of-influence-as-job-reference/. ↩
- Nelo Drizari, “ALBANIA SEES NEW KING ZOGU AS USURPER AND AS PATRIOT; Former View That of Troubleseekers, Says Albanian Leader Here, Who Sees Monarch As Modern Scanderbeg,” The New York Times, September 23, 1928, sec. Letters to the Editor, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1928/09/23/91710326.html?pageNumber=59. ↩
- Nelo Drizari, “ALBANIA SEES NEW KING ZOGU AS USURPER AND AS PATRIOT; Former View That of Troubleseekers, Says Albanian Leader Here, Who Sees Monarch As Modern Scanderbeg,” The New York Times, September 23, 1928, sec. Letters to the Editor, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1928/09/23/91710326.html?pageNumber=59. ↩
- Nelo Drizari, “Albanians Here Indignant,” The New York Times, December 25, 1941, sec. Letters to the Editor, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1941/12/25/issue.html. ↩
- Ted Lipien, “Hollywood’s Polish Latin Lover Who Terrorized Voice of America Broadcasters,” Cold War Radio Museum (blog), September 30, 2019, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/hollywoods-polish-latin-lover-who-terrorized-voice-of-america-broadcasters/. ↩